Most of us have three meals a day, interspersed with snacks. But is this conventional meal plan the right choice? The book The Intermittent Fasting Revolution by Mark P. Mattson delves deep into the science of eating patterns, challenging the prevailing notion of the ‘normal’ and ‘healthy’ way to nourish our bodies. This enlightening book underscores the fact that human physiology and cognition are intricately linked to an evolutionary history where food availability was intermittent. By unravelling the transformative potential of intermittent fasting, it illuminates how this approach can boost resilience, enhance mental and physical performance, and act as a shield against the relentless march of ageing and disease.
In this review, we will explore the pages of this book to demystify the concept of intermittent fasting and explore how it can potentially revolutionise the way we approach our health and well-being.
Mark P. Mattson is a distinguished Professor of Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University and former Chief of the Laboratory of Neurosciences at the National Institute on Aging Intramural Research Program of the National Institute on Aging.
He is renowned for his extensive research on intermittent fasting, recognised by the National Institute of Health as one of the world’s foremost experts on the cognitive and physical health benefits of this practice. Mattson also engages in sharing his insights through his podcast, ‘Brain Ponderings,’ where he interviews prominent neuroscientists about their lives and work.
What is the book about?
The Intermittent Fasting Revolution by Mark P. Mattson challenges our conventional eating habits and explores the benefits of intermittent fasting. Mattson delves into the evolutionary and historical perspectives on fasting, highlighting that our ancestors thrived with intermittent fasting patterns, while today’s three-meals-a-day norm is a departure from the natural order.
Structured into nine distinct chapters, the book covers various topics, including:
The positive impact of intermittent fasting on mental and physical performance
Protection against ageing and various diseases with intermittent fasting
Benefits beyond weight loss: improved glucose regulation, blood lipid levels, and reduction in abdominal fat
Safeguarding against neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and stroke through intermittent fasting
The brain benefits of intermittent fasting: anxiety reduction, improved learning, and memory enhancement
The scientific mechanisms behind the positive effects of intermittent fasting
The role of a healthy diet in complementing intermittent fasting
The impact of certain chemicals in fruits and vegetables on cell health
The Intermittent Fasting Revolution concludes with practical advice for those interested in incorporating intermittent fasting into their daily routine and offers guidance for physicians considering it as part of their patient care strategy. Overall, the book provides valuable insights into the benefits of intermittent fasting, rooted in science and evolution, with practical applications for improved health and well-being.
Table of contents
- 1. FOOD SCARCITY “SCULPTED” THE HUMAN BRAIN AND BODY Brains and Bodies Evolved to Function Best When Food Is Scarce Food-centric Origins of Human Culture
- Historical Perspective on Fasting for (Brain) Health
- 2. INTERMITTENT FASTING SLOWS AGING
- Improving Glucose and Fat Metabolism
- Counteracting Free Radicals
- Cellular Repair and Garbage Disposal
- Reduced Inflammation
- Optimum Health: Cycling between Stress Resistance and Growth Modes
- 3. INTERMITTENT FASTING FOR DISEASE PREVENTION AND TREATMENT
- Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes
- Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Inflammatory Disorders and Infections
- 4. INTERMITTENT FASTING BOLSTERS BRAIN AND BODY PERFORMANCE
- The Importance of Metabolic Switching and Ketones
- Hormesis and Stress Resistance
- The Brain: Synapses, Stem Cells, and Neuronal Network Activity
- The Body: Stronger Hearts, Muscles, and Guts Mitochondria and Cellular Resilience: Strength in Numbers
- 5. TALES OF A KETONE ESTER
- Bud’s Idea
- Protecting the Brain against Alzheimer’s Disease
- The Yellow Jersey
- 6. DIET COMPOSITION AND BRAIN HEALTH
- Say No to Sugars and Processed Foods
- Variety Is the Spice of Brain Health
- The Vegetarian’s Advantage: What Doesn’t Kill You
- 7. LISTEN UP, MOMS AND DADS
- Impact of Metabolic Health on the Child’s Brain
- Parental Metabolic Health, Epigenetics, and Autism
- 8. BEWARE OF THE “DARK FORCES” AND DON’T EXPECT MIRACLE DRUGS
- The Sweet Tooth and Food Addiction
- An Ass-Backwards Health Care System
- A Quick Fix?
- 9. BON VOYAGE
- The “Magic Month” and Prescriptions for Intermittent Fasting
- Intermittent Fasting Hacks
- The Uncertain Future of the Brain
- Further Reading
Three key takeaways from The Intermittent Fasting Revolution
1Intermittent fasting slows ageing
The book presents evidence that intermittent fasting has the ability to slow down the ageing process. Researchers have extensively studied the effects of calorie restriction, a core aspect of intermittent fasting, on ageing, and have found that it can extend lifespan and reduce the burden of age-related diseases in monkeys. This extension of lifespan is associated with reduced body weight, particularly when caloric restriction counters diets high in sugar content.
Studies on humans, including the ‘calorie restriction with optimal nutrition’ (CRON) group, demonstrate that daily calorie restriction improves various cardiovascular disease risk factors, including cholesterol levels and blood sugar regulation. Intermittent fasting, even without a significant overall reduction in calorie intake, offers similar benefits.
Moreover, intermittent fasting amplifies the cell’s ability to repair DNA, a critical factor in the ageing process. DNA damage repair becomes less efficient as we age, leading to various age-related conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease. Intermittent fasting, exercise, and the protein brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) all play crucial roles in enhancing DNA repair, thereby protecting against age-related neurodegenerative diseases.
2Intermittent fasting has the potential to combat chronic diseases
The book also provides various pieces of evidence that support the potential of intermittent fasting in the prevention and combatting of chronic diseases.
Intermittent fasting has demonstrated its ability to bolster the body’s resilience against heart attacks and strokes. Rats subjected to simulated strokes exhibited significantly less damage and better motor function when placed on an intermittent fasting regimen. Similarly, research in collaboration with cardiologist Ed Lakatta unveiled that intermittent fasting reduces heart tissue damage and enhances the function of the left ventricle following a myocardial infarction.
What is more, fasting presents a promising strategy for cancer prevention and treatment. The regimen inhibits tumour growth in various animal models and complements the existing cancer therapies. By inducing a mild adaptive stress response, it enables cells to repair damaged DNA, prevents cancer cell formation, and enhances immune cell activity against cancer cells.
There is also growing evidence that intermittent fasting has the potential to reduce the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease. However, more research is still needed.
3Intermittent fasting amplifies brain health
Intermittent fasting offers significant benefits for brain health by virtue of its multifaceted impact on various neuronal processes. The book underscores this by highlighting several key mechanisms.
Note from Healthypedia: BDNF is a protein crucial for neuron survival and growth, it also affects how neurotransmitters work and plays a role in learning and memory. Firstly, it elucidates how intermittent fasting promotes the interplay between glutamate and BDNF, proteins that are crucial components for neuronal health. This interaction is particularly vital in the hippocampus, a region central to learning and memory. By adhering to intermittent fasting regimens, individuals can augment synapse numbers and elevate BDNF levels.
Moreover, intermittent fasting leverages the presence of stem cells in the hippocampus to stimulate neurogenesis, a process vital for brain rejuvenation and repair.
Additionally, the book highlights the role of ketones in enhancing cognition during intermittent fasting. Ketones, chemicals generated by the liver as a result of the breakdown of fats, serve as catalysts for BDNF production, thereby positively impacting mood, cognitive functions, and ameliorating various neurological disorders.
Strengths and weaknesses, according to readers’ reviews
Provides a clear and comprehensive explanation of the science behind intermittent fasting, making it accessible for readers to understand the underlying principles.
Dr. Mattson, a recognised expert in the field, lends credibility to the book’s content and recommendations, making it a reliable source.
Readers seeking practical advice on how to make intermittent fasting easier or determine the best form of time-restricted eating may find the book lacking in specific recommendations.
Best quotes from The Intermittent Fasting Revolution
“A lifestyle characterized by three meals plus snacks every day and negligible exercise results in suboptimal brain function and increases the risk of major neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders.”
“Intermittent fasting slows aging, reduces inflammation, improves glucose regulation, lowers blood pressure, facilitates fat loss, and may reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cancers.”
“With fasting and extended exercise, liver glycogen stores are depleted, and ketones are produced from fat-cell-derived fatty acids. This metabolic switch in cellular fuel source is accompanied by molecular adaptations of cells throughout the body and brain that enhance their functionality and bolster their resistance to stress, injury, and disease.”
The Intermittent Fasting Revolution by Mark P. Mattson is an enlightening exploration of the numerous health benefits associated with intermittent fasting. Dr. Mattson’s extensive research background and expertise in the field lend credibility to the book’s content, making it a valuable resource for those seeking to understand the science behind intermittent fasting. The book offers compelling insights into how intermittent fasting can slow down the ageing process, combat chronic diseases, and amplify brain health. It serves as a comprehensive guide for readers interested in adopting intermittent fasting as a part of their lifestyle. This book is a must-read for individuals looking to enhance their well-being and make informed decisions about their health practices.
Where to buy
You may purchase The Intermittent Fasting Revolution on Amazon at the best price. It is available in paperback, hardcover and Kindle versions, so you may choose an option that appeals to you the most.
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